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We are excited to announce our 5th 2023 Spring Grant Recipient!

Thanks to our generous Legacy Giving Circle donor community, Ugandan Water Project is receiving a $32,000 grant towards safe water for Uganda: today, tomorrow, forever.

Initiative Location: Luwero Town Council, Luwero District Uganda

Initiative Cause Areas: Community and Economic Development; Education; Environmental; Food Insecurity; Healthcare; Human Rights; Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation; Nonprofit Entrepreneurial Support; Women Empowerment Programs

UN Sustainable Development Goals: 06 Clean Water & Sanitation; 08 Decent Work & Economic Growth

Initiative Description: Imagine someone hands you a coin and tells you to flip it. Heads: Lucky you-you’ll be able to collect decent drinking water in less than 30 minutes today. Tails: Sorry-no water for you. But it’s not like you can just skip drinking water today, so you’ll need to tackle this problem before you can do anything else. Maybe you’ll wade into the nearby pond and fill your container mere meters from where animals stoop to drink. Or maybe you’ll walk for an hour there and back to avoid the pond, lugging as many gallons as you can carry over the hilly way under the hot, equatorial sun.

If you live in Uganda, you’ve already flipped that coin by virtue of being born: About half of Ugandans will wake up today without a decent nearby water source. One reason for this is that borehole wells – which are the safest wells – are mechanically complex. Moving parts push water up hundreds of feet to the surface, and no matter how well built they are, they don’t last forever. This is especially hard on rural communities who struggle under a system that inadvertently pits their needs against those of the mechanics who maintain and repair their borehole wells. These mechanics only get paid when borehole wells break down (creating a reverse incentive) and community members are saddled with poor service. Meanwhile, the borehole wells remain broken as communities scrape together enough money to pay for repairs.

Ultimately, this system serves neither communities nor mechanics: It pits one’s needs against the other’s. Mechanics need to be able to feed their families; communities need safe water to drink.

In late 2021, the Ugandan Water Project (UWP) launched AquaTrust (AQT), which establishes systemic support for keeping critical water infrastructure functioning more than 99% of the time. Enrolled communities receive an immediate benefit – the upgrade of their borehole well to high-quality equipment-through an infusion of charitable donations. These communities make a financial contribution toward the borehole well upgrade and then pay a small monthly fee for trained AquaTrust technicians to service their borehole well. Higher-quality materials mean lower operating costs, which keeps maintenance affordable for communities. Trained AquaTrust technicians receive steady wages to ensure that borehole wells remain functional.

The Ugandan Water Project is seeking a grant of $32,000 to provide borehole well upgrades to 16 rural Ugandan communities that are ready to enroll in AquaTrust, ensuring that those boreholes will serve their communities indefinitely.

Initiative Impact: We anticipate that approximately 4,000 people will receive safe water access from these 16 upgraded borehole wells, not just once, but day in and day out for years to come.

Today, AquaTrust technicians service 129 community borehole wells and maintain more than 99% functionality rates. Communities enrolled in AquaTrust are reaping health benefits and time savings that translate to economic opportunities. Instead of walking long distances when their borehole wells break down to fetch water from contaminated water sources (such as ponds), members of these communities are free to work or attend school.

These 16 borehole well upgrades will lift a particular weight felt acutely by women and girls in these rural communities, who are much more often tasked with using their bodies to stand in for broken pipes and pumps by fetching water from afar. We estimate that approximately 720 women and girls will each save an average of 70 minutes per day in fetching time because AquaTrust technicians will keep their community borehole wells functioning more than 99% of the time.

Initiative Sustainability: The infusion of charitable donations coupled with communities’ initial financial contributions and ongoing monthly fees makes AquaTrust financially sustainable and positioned to provide safe water access for enrolled communities indefinitely.

AquaTrust will pay trained technicians a steady wage to maintain borehole wells quarterly. In the event of a breakdown – which is inevitable on any mechanically complex infrastructure – our trained AquaTrust technicians will respond within 24 hours. Our data platform, mWater, will track the repair and ensure that we are upholding our promise of >99% functionality rates. This combination of systems and support is designed to last for years.

As our name suggests, trust is vital to AquaTrust. Our intention is to build long-term relationships with communities. Ultimately, the future of water in Uganda belongs to Uganda, and by partnering with communities now, we are helping to create the conditions for a future where safe water is the norm, and where each woman, man, and child can trust that clean water will be available to them today, tomorrow, forever.